Lemon Yoghurt Cake with Dulce de Leche

Cakes are such versatile wee things! A few days ago I was scrolling through one of my go-to recipe websites, www.bite.co.nz, in an attempt to get inspired and came across all sorts of vegan goodies, including this fudgy chocolate cake, these spiced strawberry cupcakes, and this Sienna-style spiced fruit and nut cake. I wanted to make something equally as delicious and a little bit out of the box, which is when I glanced upon my block of Loving Earth lemon caramel chocolate and had an epiphany.

Lemon and caramel sound like a peculiar combination - at first, I was a little suspicious too. I was raised on lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon and sugar crepes, and buttery madeira cakes, so the concept of lemon and sugar was not so foreign to me - but citrus with creamy cacao? Luckily, this cake is absolutely mind-blowing, knock-your-socks-off good! Soft and airy lemon yoghurt cakes sandwiched together with a lemon coconut yoghurt frosting reminiscent of a dense, gooey cheesecake, drizzled in a sticky cheat's two-ingredient dulce de leche made entirely from coconut. The squares of Loving Earth's Lemon Caramel chocolate atop are entirely optional, but very strongly recommended. It block was my muse for this cake, after all! If you want to get your hands on a block (or eleven), scroll to the bottom for a fantastic giveaway, thanks to Loving Earth and Bite.

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INGREDIENTS

LEMON COCONUT YOGHURT CAKE
2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons of Heilala Vanilla ground vanilla bean powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1 cup of Ceres Organics golden sugar
1/3 cup of coconut sugar
Zest of two lemons
1/2 a cup of coconut oil
1 cup of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt
1/2 a cup of almond milk

CHEAT'S DULCE DE LECHE
1/2 a cup of Ceres Organics coconut cream
1/2 a cup of coconut sugar

SOUR WHIPPED LEMON FROSTING
1 cup of Raglan Coconut Yoghurt
1/4 cup of maple syrup
Zest and juice of two lemons

TOPPINGS
Loving Earth's Lemon Caramel chocolate
Lemon zest

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C bake. Grease two 25cm non-stick springform cake tins with coconut oil, and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper to prevent sticking. This batter tends to get caught in the corners of the tin, so feel free to line the sides too if you want to be extra cautious.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the ground vanilla bean powder, then set aside.
  3. Measure the golden sugar and coconut sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, then zest the lemons into the same bowl. Mix on low speed until well combined, then add the coconut oil and whip until fluffy and light - try to get the sugar granules as small as possible.
  4. Once you've beaten the sugar and coconut oil, add in the coconut yoghurt and coconut milk and mix on a low speed until well combined. Gradually shake in the flour mixture with the mixer on low speed, and stop when just combined. Make sure you don't over-mix the batter!
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two lined cake tins, and place in the oven too cook for 20-30 minutes. You'll know when they're ready because they'll be a lovely golden brown and will spring back to the touch - make sure you keep a close eye on them as they are easy to overcook because of their thinness.
  6. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. In this time make the dulce de leche by heating the coconut cream over a medium heat until warm, then adding the coconut sugar and stirring continuously. Allow it to bubble for 5-10 minutes while you stir, until the consistency is thick enough that you are able to run your finger down the back of the caramel-coated spoon and it leaves a line. Pour it into a jug and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  7. Remove the cakes from their cake tins and place them on a wire rack to cool off completely. Once cooled, make the lemon frosting by placing the coconut yoghurt, maple syrup, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stirring until completely smooth. Take the first cake and place it on a serving plate, then smear it with a little less than half of the frosting, making dimples for the caramel to sit in. Spoon half the cooled dulce de leche over top, place the second cake on top, and repeat.
  8. Decorate the cake however you wish - I dotted mine with chunks of Loving Earth Lemon Caramel chocolate and a final sprinkling of lemon zest to pack a fresh, citrusy punch. Delicious! Best served immediately, but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
BAKED GOODS, FOODAshlee Adams